President pushes assistive technology and telecommuting

President pushes assistive technology and telecommuting

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

JUNE 20—President Bush this morning said he will establish an Office of the 21st Century Workforce within the Labor Department to bring 'new opportunities for U.S. workers,' particularly in assistive and telecommuting technologies.

Bush, speaking at a Labor conference on 21st-century work force issues, also said he will set up a presidential council to advise him on labor issues.

He said he will ask Congress 'to increase funding to bring assistive technologies to market more quickly, to help make them more affordable for the people who need them, and to speed research in developing new technologies.' For example, he wants incentives for employers to provide assistive devices for disabled workers as well as those who want to telecommute.

Yesterday, he toured the Defense Department's assistive technology center and saw screen readers and voice-recognition software demonstrated. In a speech there, he said, 'I'm pleased to announce that when Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act becomes effective for all federal agencies next Monday, there will be more opportunities for people of all abilities to access government information.'

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